SC opens probe into appointment of ex-PNB CEO

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is investigating allegations of discrepancies in the appointment of Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed (picture) as Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) CEO in October 2019.

SC said it was recently notified of incongruities in PNB’s submission on Abdul Jalil’s academic qualifications and work experience, and has since received confirmation on the anomalies in the submission.

“The SC had sought clarification from relevant parties regarding these discrepancies. PNB’s response to the SC’s enquiries is still pending,” it said in a statement yesterday.

It said PNB, as a capital market services licence (CMSL) holder, is required to ensure that all information submitted to the SC for Abdul Jalil’s appointment, including his work experience and academic qualifications, is true.

SC’s licensing handbook states that a CMSL holder should seek SC’s prior approval for the appointment of its CEO.

In doing so, a CMSL holder and its board of directors are required to conduct due diligence on the individual’s capability and competence to lead the licensed entity.

This includes assessing the individual’s ability to exercise due skill and diligence in assuming the position.

Additionally, the SC will conduct regulatory assessments on the background of the individual with relevant law enforcement agencies.

A PNB spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve that PNB is attending to this matter and will give an update in due course.

Abdul Jalil resigned on Monday following speculation that he would be replaced. PNB confirmed the resignation the same day.

Earlier, Abdul Jalil’s farewell email to staff went viral — where he said he had been pushed to end his tenure at PNB after receiving anonymous hate calls and that his corporate email account and LinkedIn profile were also hacked.

While the exit is regretted, Abdul Jalil said he feared his family’s safety.

“We made a big financial and family sacrifice to relocate back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore because I truly wanted to contribute to nation-building. I’m disappointed this has come to an abrupt end.”

Malaysia’s largest fund manager said its board of directors have since approved Abdul Jalil’s successor and an announcement is pending regulatory approvals.

Names are said to be vetted for the chairman role currently held by former central bank governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Questions about Abdul Jalil’s academic and career credentials were raised prior to his resignation, which he purportedly gave a false account of.

Members of the international fund management community, however, have since testified to his mettle including former boss and current Aberdeen Standard Islamic Investment Sdn Bhd CEO Gerald Ambrose who said the company was aware of Abdul Jalil’s credentials.

“We know he did not misrepresent his qualifications at all,” Ambrose said.

Abdul Jalil was made CEO of Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management in 2010 at the age of 27. He was regional head of South Asian business at UK-based Invesco Ltd, an investment firm with over US$1.2 trillion (RM5.13 trillion) in assets under management, when he was offered to lead PNB.

Credit Suisse Securities (M) Sdn Bhd country head Stephen Hagger described Abdul Jalil as a sharp dresser and a critic of poor corporate and political behaviour.

He said Abdul Jalil is known in international circles for his credibility and intellect.